Video by Ford Fischer
Photos and Article by Alejandro Alvarez
Almost a dozen protesters were arrested on Capitol Hill on Monday, sitting-in on GOP representatives supporting a bill they see as morally deprived and full of false promises.
“Relief for the sick and spent, not just for the one percent,” was just one of the chants that greeted staffers in Brian Fitzgerald’s office, a Pennsylvania congressman who joined 227 of his Republican colleagues in supporting the House’s version of the tax reform bill earlier in November. Joining the group were several from Fitzgerald’s own constituency, a mix of predominantly middle class suburban and rural communities north of Philadelphia.
With the Senate’s approval of its own tax bill last week, both houses of Congress are expected to convene and draft a final version of the bill that could be put up to a vote before the end of the year. Though Republican leaders have touted the bill as a return to job promoting return to conservative taxation, Democrats have criticized it as benefiting wealthy Republican donors at the behest of middle class.
The Senate version of the bill would also repeal the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act, which detractors say could lead to higher costs for healthcare. The proposal’s impact on the ACA has been a key focus of activists over the past several weeks, many of which are returning to protest after the Republican effort to repeal the ACA over the summer.
“Tax the rich, not the poor and sick,” chanted about fifty protesters packing the hallway in the Cannon building, who repeatedly said they viewed the GOP plan as little more than a scam.
Earlier in the morning, about a dozen protesters with millennial-led climate advocacy group Sunrise Movement briefly occupied the office of two other Republican congressmen against a provision in the tax plan that would make portions of the Alaska Wildlife Refuge available for drilling operations.
Entering the offices of GOP Representatives Carlos Curbelo and Patrick Meehan, they unfurled banners warning that the Tax effort “sells out the Arctic and our future,” and criticized the proposal as conducive to “climate chaos.”
Additional protests are planned this week on Capitol Hill and across the country as the House and Senate meet to reconcile their versions of the tax bill.